Signs of Potty Training Readiness

Signs of Potty Training Readiness

When it comes to potty training, having realistic expectations, following your child’s lead, and knowing the signs of readiness are essential before you begin.  Often we see these signs between 2 and 4 years old.  Doctors say that the vast majority of children under 18months do not have the ability to consciously control their bladder or bowel movements, let alone, be able to tell you or tell themselves that it’s time to stop playing to go to the potty.  We know that as your child passes their second birthday you have a better grip on their personality and temperament, what they like and don’t like, and all of this can be important during potty training.    Over the years I have found that if a child is “ready,” the process really is relatively easy.


The signs of readiness:

  • Children should show an ability to sit for a longer period of time, have a longer attention span, and really become engaged in an activity.
  • Children should be more verbally aware.  Does your child understand what you are saying?  When you ask them to go the closet and get their shoes, are they successful?
  • Children who are ready to potty train are actively asserting themselves as independent little people.  You’ll hear lot’s of “No,” “mine,” and “by myself.”
  • Children are more willing and able to help clean up.  They may know the clean-up song and can put items where they belong.  This shows a cognitive understanding.   Being aware that food doesn’t go in the hamper, will also mean they can learn that poop and pee go in the potty.
  • Your child wants to do everything like mom and dad, big brother and caregiver.  You’ll see lots of imitation.  This is a great time to let your child join you in the potty so they can see what it looks like.
  • Certainly, a child should be able to pull up and pull down clothes on their own.
  • You can see a pattern in when your child pees and poops.  You might notice that they are always dry after their nap or that they generally poop 40 minutes after dinner.
  • Your child starts telling you that they are wet and need to be changed.
  • Your child is showing some interest in using the potty.


Potty training should not be rushed.  Keep an eye out for the signs and let your child take the lead.  When they are ready, they will do it!


Dana’s Kids

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